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DC Federal Money Laundering Penalties

DC federal money laundering penalties can be extremely harsh and are driven by a variety of factors including the amount of money involved and the amount of knowledge that an individual allegedly had towards what they were doing. There is also no mandatory minimum sentence for money laundering charges which means judges will need to consider all these factors in order to reach an appropriate sentence. With this in mind, it is imperative those accused consult with a DC federal money laundering lawyer who can argue on the behalf of the accused and mitigate the sentence as much as possible. To learn more or discuss the specific penalties that you may be facing, call and schedule a consultation today.

Criminal Penalties

There is no mandatory minimum sentence associated with money laundering but guideline ranges for money laundering can be very high. The United States Sentencing Commission at the direction of congress takes a very harsh view of money laundering and therefore, the consequences are harsher than they would be if the activity was not related to money laundering.

Anyone convicted of money laundering could be sentenced to up to 20 years of incarceration and fines of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the property that was involved in the transaction, whichever amount is greater.

Those who are involved with money laundering offenses can also face other related criminal charges. For example, 18 U.S.C. Section 1957 imposes a penalty of 10 years of incarceration for depositing or spending $10,000 or more of the proceeds from activity which violate U.S.C. Section 1956.

Likelihood of Receiving the Maximum Sentence

When someone is charged with the crime, they have to be informed of what the maximum potential penalty is, but do not typically receive it. The likelihood of being able to receive the maximum sentence on a money laundering charge is almost nonexistent.

Sentencing Factors

One of the first factors that will be taken into account when determining the penalty for money laundering is the extent to which the individual is involved and their knowledge of what is taking place. Sometimes there are situations where an individual might know that the source of the money is illegal, but they may not know the specific illegality. For example, if an attorney can convince a prosecutor that client didn’t know the source was drug-trafficking, even if they knew the money was coming from an illegal source, that could prevent a pretty onerous enhancement from taking effect and be of great benefit to the client.

Even if the government might be able to prove knowledge of illegality, knowledge of the specific source is an important factor that will often be taken into account in sentencing.

Other Factors That May Be Considered

Other factors that are considered are more traditional, such as whether the client already has a criminal record or whether they pled guilty through a plea bargain or were found guilty at trial. In the case of a guilty plea, factors such as whether they were directly involved in the illegal activity and why they were involved in the illegal activity can make a huge difference.

Sometimes the client will not even be charged with the offense underlying the alleged money laundering, and are instead only charged as the money launderer. This is important because it shows the government’s evidence that the client was engaged in any underlying illegal activity is very weak which can be helpful in a defense.

Common Misconceptions

There are a number of common misconceptions when it comes to charges and DC federal money laundering penalties. Some people can be lulled into a false sense of security by the under-the-radar nature of these case, by the fact that they are not often necessarily headline-grabbing. Their discreetness notwithstanding, these charges are taken very seriously by law enforcement and the courts, and can lead to extremely long periods of incarceration.

Common Concerns

The most typical questions that any person asks who is concerned about DC federal money laundering penalties are:

  • What are the chances of success?
  • How much potential jail time is there
  • What is most likely to happen in this case

How those questions are answered depends on the particulars of each individual case.

Progress of an Investigation

On the defense side, the way an investigation begins is by tracking the progress of the government efforts. There are a number of other useful techniques which come into play after that as weel, including:

  • Interviews with potential witnesses
  • Reviews of financial records
  • Reading of emails

All these can work in tandem to paint a picture different than that which the prosecution is presenting.

Potential Defense Strategies

A couple of common defense strategies would be to attack the allegations of the underlying criminal conduct. In other words, if there is no underlying criminal conduct that led to this particular money being obtained, then there is not illegal money to launder. A skilled attorney can also attack the concealment aspect and attempt to explain to a jury or a judge why the money that is at issue is where it is, and why it has not been concealed. Ultimately, the exact strategy depends entirely on the details of the case.

How an Attorney Can Help Build a Defense

When it comes to warding off DC federal money laundering penalties, there are a number of things that go into a strong defense. These include an intent analysis of the financial records, talking to witnesses about the alleged underlying criminal conduct, gathering as much information as possible from the individual facing charges. A dedicated attorney who has been practicing in the field for a number of years will be well equipped to manage the challenges inherent in this type of case, as well as build the strongest defense possible.

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